Old English Sheepdog Breed Magazine - Showsight

but should be. The dogs should be wider in the rear than the front. EDB: Compare height to length (top of withers to elbow to ground vs. point of shoulder to ischium tuberosity) with a short loin. DM: Measuring from the most forward point on the body (point of shoulder), where the scapula and the upper arm meet, to the ischium (back part of the hip bone), this measurement should be practically the same as the height at the withers (just behind the top of the scapula). Proportion is very important too. The measurement from withers to the elbow and elbow to the ground should be practically the same. Although we often hear people say that dogs are long and low, I find OES are more often long, but not low. A low dog is like a Corgi; dogs with short legs that are not 50% of the body height. There are some OES that are too tall and have more leg than depth of body, which is incorrect as well. An OES should be thickset, with good depth of chest, giving plenty of room for lungs and heart. Correctly proportioned OES can look short legged if they carry a lot of coat and a dog that is leggy can look correct with good length of coat. A well-angulated dog needs to be shorter in back than a poorly angled dog to achieve squareness. As the angles become closer to 90 degrees it lengthens the dog. The standard does leave some room beyond square; it says rather short and practically the same. This is why feeling under that coat on an OES is so important. It doesn’t matter if a dog is square if it is unsound or out of balance. Correct angulation needs to be assessed and then you can look at squareness. Cubes are three-dimensional. For this purpose, the author of the standard I don’t feel intended square to mean three-dimensional. The OES is narrower in the front and broader in the loin, which makes it impossible to be square in three dimensions. EM: Is this a trick question? Does it look square, or does it look like a rectangle—standing and moving? Yes, you can feel under the coat to see exactly where the prosternum is, and where the body ends, and where the withers are, but chances are, a dog that is too long or too short legged will not appear square. Whether it’s the whole dog or a feature that should be square, does it appear or feel square or not? Doesn’t seem that complicated. MO: Not in dog terms! No standard that I know of calls for a three-dimensionally square box with a leg at each corner! In fact, the OES Standard calls for a pear-shape with rump wider than shoulders, not a square, when the dog is viewed from the top. “Square” in terms of dog anatomy is a commonly used description of equal length of body to height. Many breeds that are “square” such as Dober- mans, Schnauzers, Bouviers and others also use these two dimensions to describe the breed’s ideal height-to- length proportions. The OES Standard calls for: “Length, measured from point of shoulder to point of ischium practically the same as height”, which is measured “from top of withers to ground”. Also, and importantly, mea- surement from withers to elbow should be practically the same as elbow ground. Check beneath the coat when

judging this measurement. Accurate assessment of OES proportions is another task for educated hands, as length of coat and artful grooming can mislead the eye especial- ly in the stacked and standing dog. Carefully watching the moving dog can also be of great help in revealing the truth about proportions! CO: Square is square, long is long. Your first impression of a dog is its shape in profile, and an Old English Sheepdog should appear to you as a square, not a rectangle. In a heavily-coated dog, you may have to feel under the hair to determine if the dog is truly square or if it is actually too long. LS: First, the judge must take the overall outline. This is a hands-on breed and must be examined under the coat to find the proper structure that creates the squareness. The height—withers to ground—should equal the length of the dog. 9. What are you looking for when going over the shoulders and do you pay attention to the arch of the neck? PBM: I look for proper layback of shoulder and yes I feel for the arch of neck. Again all these features add into the whole. MAB: Shoulders must have good complimentary length of upper and lower arms with an obvious point where they join at the front of the dog. Shoulders must lay back at the end of the neck with the withers being set back. This construction allows the dog to stand with its feet directly under the withers with no posting or the feet set forward beyond the withers. The gentle arch of the fairly long neck is an obvious muscle on the neck behind the ears. You can feel this muscle and as you move down the neck. The neck should fit neatly into the withers and shoulders. SC: Proper layback and fit of shoulders, withers and lower arm. EDB: Lay back of shoulder is very important, as with not enough layback the arch is gone. DM: When going over shoulders, I put my left hand on the point of shoulder, follow the ridge of the scapula up to the top, mentally drawing a line and determine if it’s upright or well laid back and laid on. To complete the evaluation of the front-end assembly, I leave my left hand on the point of shoulder and put my right hand on the elbow. Again, drawing a line to see that this angle puts the front legs well under the body, giving the dog good front-end support and balance. I do pay attention to arch of neck. It gives the dog a more elegant look and allows the neck to blend into the back more smoothly. EM: Without proper shoulders, there would be no arch of neck, so yes, I do pay attention. Shoulder layback, lay on, and length and return of upper arm are essential for proper movement. MO: Yes, I look for a graceful arch of a fairly long neck, which should flow smoothly into well laid back shoul- ders. Neck-to-upright shoulders assemblies are often described as looking like “a knife stuck in a cube of cheese”. I feel for, and want to find, shoulder blades

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